Andre (2nd from right) with mayor Clifford RIshell at Thaler fountain dedication in 1961

André Theodore Fontes (April 16, 1898 – March 26, 1998) owned a printing shop and was a life-long Oakland booster. In 1932 he was one of charter members of the Lake Merritt Breakfast Club.

Fontes was the great uncle of muralist Dan Fontes.


Fontes was near the middle of the 8 children of Anselmo Souza Fontes (1864 – 1924) and Caroline Avelar (Fontes) (1874 – 1926). (NB: records differ on the spelling of Caroline; some spell it Carlyn, and one refers to her as Carrie.) Anselmo and Caroline were both born in the Azores, an island chain that is part of Portugal. Caroline immigrated to the U.S. in 1878; Anselmo a few years later in 1883. They married August 22, 1890. Anselmo ran a shoe shop out of their home. 17

Andre was born April 16, 1898. Some early records refer to him as Anselmo.

In 1910, Andre was living with the family at 1504 - 34th Street. By 1920, he had entered his lifelong field of printing as a pressman, and he was living in a lodging house in San Francisco.

Fontes may have served in WWI. [ branch unknown ]

Andre married Gladys Long (Fontes) in 1927, and they had a son, Ronald Albert Fontes. In 1935, Fontes married Margaret Alberta Kolbus (Fontes), and they had three daughters, Margol Andrea Fontes (Roberts), Twinkle Ann Fontes (Martin), and Melody Fontes (Andrews-Tereski). In 1937, the Fontes moved to 5861 Moraga Avenue, where they lived the rest of their lives.

Fontes Printing Company

origin unknown - via Facebook

New Lucky's menu 6Pland's menu 5Central Sea Food menu 12Kent's Chicken Shop 13Roma Restaurant 14Leamington Hotel 15

1934 adIn 1920, Fontes was working as a pressman and living in a boarding house in San Francisco. By 1930, Fontes was running his own printing business in Oakland. A 1931 directory lists it as Fontes and Hyman. From c.1931 to 1944, Fontes Printing Company was at 613 - 10th Street near Lafayette Square. In 1945, the company moved to 777 - 22nd Street (by 1951, that became 777 West Grand.)

Among the items the company printed were restaurant menus. The 1935 directory includes "Oakland Daily Menu Press" in the listing for Fontes Printing. 7

Civic Involvement

Fontes, 2nd from right, at closing of Officers' Center, 1946Fontes was a charter member and director of the Lake Merritt Breakfast Club 1 and in 1951 served as president. 8,9 In 1983, he was honored as the first 50-year member. Margaret's obituary refers to Andre as the "Godfather of (Children's) Fairyland." 11

He was also a director of the Advertising Club of Oakland. 2

During WWII, Fontes was involved in the running of the Metropolitan Officers' Center in the Hotel Leamington, open to officers in any branch of the armed services. 3

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Fontes was on the Parks Commission. 10,16 In 1967, he was member of the Businessmen's Garden Club of Oakland. 4

Links and References

  1. Breakfast Club Seats Officers Oakland Tribune January 15, 1942
  2. Advertising Club Elects Directors Oakland Tribune November 28, 1940
  3. Officer Center Plans Carry On Oakland Tribune September 6, 1945
  4. New Garden Club Chiefs Take Over Oakland Tribune July 23, 1967
  5. Pland's Dining Room, Coffee Shop, Cocktail Lounge OMCA Collections 2008.85.12
  6. New Lucky's menu OMCA Collections 2008.85.1
  7. Polk's Oakland 1935
  8. Children's Fairyland Turns 60 San Jose Mercury News September 1, 2010
  9. Lake Merritt Breakfast Club — The Sunnysiders Stylish Story

  10. Conservation at the Local Level California Department of Natural Resources

  11. Margaret Alberta Kolbus-Fontes obituary
  12. Central Sea Food OMCA Collections 2008.85.10
  13. Kent's Chicken Shop OMCA Collections 2008.85.14
  14. Roma Restaurant OMCA Collections 2008.85.4
  15. Leamington Hotel OMCA Collections 2008.85.2
  16. City Council OK's Mayors Nominees to Fill Vacancies Oakland Tribune August 7, 1957
  17. marriage announcements Oakland Tribune January 3, 1891